HC Deb 13 December 1937 vol 330 cc810-1
45. Mr. Maclay

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that France, Russia, and Great Britain are the only great Powers remaining in the League of Nations, he will assume the initiative in taking steps to terminate the present form of the League and Covenant and thereafter endeavour to bring together all of the great Powers into a new form of League of Nations, the primary duty of which would be to consider, study, and bring world opinion to bear on economic courses of action likely to mitigate the causes of war in the world?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

I would remind my hon. Friend that the League has set up a committee to study the application of the principles of the Covenant. This committee will no doubt be concerned with all aspects of that question. In the circumstances I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by action such as that suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Maclay

While understanding the Prime Minister's reply, may I ask whether he will bear in mind that there is a growing public opinion in this country that something should be attempted soon to put the League on a more practical basis, rather than leave it to die in its present form?

Mr. A. Henderson

Is it not precisely because the League of Nations exists to mitigate the causes of war that both Japan and Italy have thought fit to dissociate themselves from membership of it, and is it not a fact that although six nations are outside the League there are 57 inside?